STATEN ISLAND — Despite its reputation as the deep red borough, a Democratic newcomer has just outraised the entire combined field of Staten Island candidates lining up for next year's congressional race.
Next November's race for the seat, which represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, is already shaping up to be an interesting one — not just with disgraced former Rep. Michael Grimm stepping back in, but with Army veteran and Purple Heart winner Max Rose raising more funds in the most recent reporting period than all of his competitors combined.
“The people of Staten Island and South Brooklyn deserve elected officials with the courage to lead and the integrity to serve,” Rose, who is a Democrat, said in a statement. “Dan Donovan and Michael Grimm had their chance to fix Washington D.C. and they both failed. It’s time for new leadership.”
Rose raised nearly $330,000 in the most recent period, which covers July to the end of September, and brought in more money than the at least six other candidates vying for his party's nomination and Grimm.
Even though Donovan has the biggest war chest overall, he'll need the cash not just to fight off the Democratic challenger but also a primary challenge from Grimm, who is trying to reclaim his old seat after his prison stint for tax fraud.
Grimm only raised $77 so far, but the latest filing period covers the time before he officially announced his run. The two Republican campaigns have already begun to spar over who supports President Donald Trump the most and the tardiness of Superstorm Sandy aid.
And while Rose has been successful in his fundraising, he still has to clear the crowded field of Democrats trying to get the chance to run against Grimm or Donovan next year, which includes former Marine and current nonprofit executive Michael DeVito Jr., bond trader Zach Emig, and retired boxer Boyd Nelson.
The winner of that primary will still have the challenge of flipping the seat that has been held by a Republican since 2010 when Grimm won over then-incumbent Michael McMahon.
Despite Staten Island having 47,955 more registered Democrats, the borough generally votes Republican, and was the only one in the city President Trump won. Donovan has called Trump a personal friend and a source previously said the president would likely come out in support of him.
However, the seat has been considered one of the most competitive in the state and some argued that an exhausting Republican primary could pave the way for Democrats to retake the seat. The Cook Political Report shifted the seat from a "Solid R" to a "Likely R" because of Grimm's run.